Gunshine State falls behind? Effort to make Florida next constitutional carry state returns

Florida gun rights
'Florida is currently behind when it comes to gun rights.'

Pro-gun groups and Rep. Anthony Sabatini are bringing the “constitutional carry” debate back to the table for the upcoming Legislative Session.

Sabatini, a Howey-in-the-Hills Republican, filed legislation (HB 103) Wednesday that would remove requirements that people obtain concealed carry permits to legally carry a firearm. Constitutional carry laws allow law-abiding citizens to practice open and concealed carry.

Florida has been given the nickname “The Gunshine State” for its residents’ affinity for concealed carry permits. Of the state’s 21.5 million residents as of 2020, nearly 2.4 million civilians have concealed carry permits as of the end of August.

Despite that, gun advocates, such as Legislation for Florida Gun Rights Director Matt Collins, say Florida is on the wrong track.

“Florida is currently behind when it comes to gun rights,” Collins said.

This year saw five states pass constitutional carry laws, raising the number of constitutional carry states to 21, according to Collins’ group. Sabatini’s bill would add Florida to the list.

“This Bill eliminates the unconstitutional ‘permit’ program which requires law abiding Florida citizens to ask the government for permission and pay money before carrying a firearm — it also allows for Open Carry,” the Representative tweeted Wednesday morning.

Since his election to the House in 2018, Sabatini has repeatedly filed a constitutional carry bill. However, Republican leadership has never scheduled the measure for a committee hearing, and the issue met opposition from gun safety groups.

Last Session’s version of the bill was assigned to Neptune Beach Republican Rep. Cord Byrd‘s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Subcommittee. With redistricting taking place this year, Byrd has been reassigned to lead the State Legislative Redistricting Committee. Macclenny Republican Rep. Chuck Brannan, a retired Baker County chief investigator and former deputy U.S. marshal, has replaced Byrd at the helm of the justice subcommittee.

Collins accused Byrd of killing the bill at the direction of House Speaker Chris Sprowls.

“Now that anti-gun Representative Cord Byrd has been removed from his position as Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee Chair, it is the perfect time to allow constitutional carry to have a hearing and vote,” Collins said.

In June, Sabatini tweeted he would file the bill again after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a constitutional carry law in his state.

“Meanwhile here in Florida, Anti-2A ‘Republicans’ in the Legislature REFUSE to allow my Constitutional Carry Bill to move forward,” Sabatini wrote.

If approved, the bill would take effect immediately.

Florida Gun Rights considers the proposal its top legislative priority this Session. The National Association for Gun Rights is similarly promoting the bill.

Committee meetings for the 2022 Session begin Monday. The 60-day Legislative Session opens Jan. 11.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


10 comments

  • Vernon

    September 15, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    Go Anthony Sabatini! The 2nd Amendment is unlimited and doesn’t at all say we need a permit. However, this law is giving extra cushion to validate inalienable rights every American in all 50 States should already have with the 2nd Amendment as written, but some States have illegally passed Unconstitutional laws to restrict our Bill of Rights. We are falling behind Texas who already has it, along with our other friends in South Carolina and Tennessee. What we really need is the Supreme Court to clarify that the 2nd Amendment as written has no restrictions and nobody is allowed to legally restrict it without a Constitutional Amendment. Any State who attempts to try to restrict a Constitutional Amendment by passing laws that contradict it should automatically be null and void.

    Reply

    • Alex

      September 15, 2021 at 4:51 pm

      2nd Amendment fanatics are some of the craziest fucks in the country.

      Right up there with capital terrorists, talibangelicals, and Qanon lunatics.

      All Republicans, and all dangerous to our democratic republic.

      Reply

      • Dalton

        September 15, 2021 at 8:13 pm

        You’re a lunatic and what is wrong with this country.

        Reply

      • Earnest Eakins

        September 15, 2021 at 9:49 pm

        I would say one dumb fun*k to another. You are a finatic in the opposite direction! You are Biden loving dumb ass dumb fun*ks and are part of the problem with our Constitutional Republic!
        Chief Warrant Officer
        Earnest Eakins, Retired U S. Army

        Reply

      • Evan Miller

        September 16, 2021 at 8:08 am

        Is Alex stupid because he is liberal, or liberal because he is stupid?

        Reply

  • James Rea

    September 15, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    I e-mailed Gov. DeSantis about this very issue just over a week ago. Florida has been needing Constitutional Carry for a long time. It is past due that Floridians are able to exercise their constitutional right and not have to pay a tax or fee to exercise said right. I applaud Rep. Anthony Sabatini for reigniting this issue. A Constitutional Carry law needs to pass. It is in the best interest of Floridians who care about the Constitution and their right to keep and bear Arms to which shall not be infringed.

    Reply

  • Alex

    September 15, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    Gun fanatics all share one truly crazy belief.

    That they with their 22’s and deer rifles and similar types of popguns can not only fight, but win a modern war.

    It doesn’t take a genius to realize they’d be wiped out in a matter of minutes if they tried to do something as dumb as attack Washington DC.

    Reply

  • Louise Murphy

    September 16, 2021 at 8:41 am

    There’s nothing a family of tourists likes to see more than a bearded, hillbilly-looking, wild-eyed fat-ass entering the restaurant with a great AK-47 strapped to his grotesque, fat body. Sabatini is certifiable and Collins is a paid gun salesman. Stop this nonsense.

    Reply

  • Victoria Olson

    September 16, 2021 at 11:38 am

    We have senseless shoots daily everywhere & this BOZO idiot wants to allow open carry??? I’m always amazed that people with absolutely no common sense gets elected & then have the nerve to called themselves leaders, leaders of DEATH? Or they are getting paid off by the NRA one of the biggest lobbyist. This BOZO doesn’t care about YOU only his $$$$$$$ from NRA

    Reply

  • Fredrik Björklund

    September 21, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    Great stuff. 24 states already have constitutional carry. Let’s make Florida 25!

    Reply

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